Swing star to hold vocal workshop at Civic Hall in June for over 65s

Mason Moore | Hinckley Reporter | 26 April 2021

MATT FORD, a local swing star who has worked alongside the BBC Big Band and the Grammy-nominated John Wilson Orchestra, will be bringing vocal workshop lessons to over 65s at the Bedworth Civic Hall, near Nuneaton.

He will be returning to the popular Bedworth-based town Theatre with his physically-distanced 7-week-long Swing Era vocal workshop sessions, titled “SingSwingSing”, which will start from 1 June 2021.

Participation is open to all Nuneaton and Bedworth residents who are over the age of 65.

Participants will be chosen by Matt himself, after they have responded to the appeals for the sessions from local newspapers, local radio, or social media site Facebook.

There will be a total of 8 singing participants and 8 non-singing participants, a total of 16 participants.

The singers will choose what songs they will focus on in the sessions, whilst the non-singing participants will serve as an audience and give moral support.

It is being hoped that the non-singers attending will form the next group of singers.

Each week the sessions are hosted, the participants will receive 20 minutes of ‘stylistic’ tuition from Matt, accompanied by pianist Matthew Reagan.

Singers will be given a professionally recorded piano accompaniment backing track that they will be able to use to practice at home.

If Covid restrictions permit it at the time, in their final week on week 7, it is being hoped that a larger audience will be invited to watch and support the singing participants in a final show of their work.

A trio of a musicians, made up of a pianist, drummer, and bass player, would support them in their final week show, if it goes ahead.

There is no joining fee of cost to the participants, as the sessions are wholly-funded by Arts Council England through their National Lottery Project grant scheme.

Matt, who has held many sold out shows at The Civic Hall before, said: “The songs of the Swing and Big Band era touch everyone regardless of creed or religious beliefs.

“The over 65’s make up 18 per cent of the population and yet according to a recent Office for National Statistics survey, more than 50 per cent of those in this age group have expressed feelings of loneliness and social isolation.

“My aim is to engage with a group of over 65’s to help rebuild and strengthen their mental wellbeing, self-esteem and self-confidence through learning and developing artistic skills.

“By its nature music is inclusive, and the shared experience of working towards a common goal, the week seven concert on Tuesday, 13 July, will serve to build much needed social bonds between participants.”

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